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The Kitchen Table 

click to enlarge MELISSA BUOTE
  • Melissa Buote

Sitting court-side at a basketball game can completely change the experience. Being right in the thick of it, close enough to see the intricacies of each play or hear chatter between teammates, might even give you a new appreciation for the game. Pulling up a chair at Ratinaud's Kitchen Table is kind of like that. The unique concept for a pop-up restaurant came to be last winter, about a year after Tom Crilley and Frédéric Tandy started peddling cured meats, rillettes and pâté from their Gottingen Street storefront. Tandy, a classically trained chef from France who cooked in hotels, restaurants and resorts before winding up in Halifax, was missing the line, and Crilley was pushing him to get back into it. "We brainstormed on how to do it, then had the idea to build a table top we could actually put on the work table," says Crilley. Now the pair host an intimate group of 10 twice a month or by private booking, serving up French food made with local ingredients and inspired by the season. Curious diners can opt for either the family-style Rustic (À la bonne franquette) meal or the more presentation-focused five-course Nouvelle Cuisine. "You're really getting to witness a unique set of skills and expertise. You actually get to watch it and ask questions, and some people get right up and want to walk in the back," says Crilley. "We're all part of the dinner." --AS

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Vol 24, No 39
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